Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
November 8, 2018

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"powerful coalition"

Coders invited to use computer modelling to develop next-gen fire safety innovations

A competition to develop the disruptive fire safety solutions of tomorrow using sophisticated computer modelling has been announced.

Signalling the growing importance of software and algorithms to fire safety science and commercial products, computer programmers have been invited to take part in the collaboration between the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Association for Project Safety (APS) and Hack_Construct.

Organisers are also inviting traditional fire safety engineers and other experts, building owners, tech start-ups and developers to attend an open workshop on 22 November 2018 where they can pitch fire safety product ideas with a view to getting them developed commercially.

The ideas subsequently chosen for commercial development – by a panel of judges in January 2019 – will then be further explored at a session held towards the end of February.

“We are looking for bright sparks to kick start new commercial solutions to fire safety,” said APS immediate past president Bobby Chakravarthy. “The Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Association for Project Safety and Hack_Construct believe that, together, we can speed up the pace of change to deliver radically safer buildings.

“Our aim is to harness a powerful coalition of coders, new technology experts and experts in traditional engineering and safety construction.” APS immediate past president Bobby Chakravarthy

“Our aim is to harness a powerful coalition of coders and new technology experts with experts in traditional engineering and safety construction skills to find new tools to ensure fire safety is built in right from the design and development stage.”

Said Rick Hartwig, built environment lead for the IET: “Grenfell was a game-changer for fire safety. Following the tragedy and subsequent recommendations by Dame Judith Hackitt in her ‘Building a Safer Future‘ report, the construction industry has started to respond, offering potential solutions to improve fire safety design and regulations.

“The launch of the competition signals a further commitment by the engineering and risk management communities to take fire seriously and to tap into new technology to develop commercial solutions to safety.”

Hack_Construct co-founder Ryan Tennyson added: “The construction sector is in a race for life allowing faster development of safety tools, products and building solutions to help cut the risk of deaths from major fires. Gaming allows a freer approach to problem-solving and we believe this innovative combination of technology know-how and technical skills will push new safety solutions faster from concept stage to production and use.”

Freelance digital transformation Specialist Mat Colmer said: “To solve some of the most challenging problems facing our built environment we must look to see how new ideas and the integration of emerging technologies can be applied for real change. The competition will facilitate the interaction between industry and the unique skills and expertise available in innovation community to address these challenges, particularly where existing solution paths are not readily identifiable.

“Ultimately, the activity provides a platform to build collaborations that have the potential to be continued into co-creation beyond this initiative.”

The open workshop takes place Thursday 22 November 2018 at the IET in London.

The day will comprise three working sessions: context setting where aims will be set out; speed dating session to create the development teams; and project development to establish ideas for submission to the second round. The day will conclude with a networking session to continue team building.

Teams will then have until the end of December to scope and document the solutions. On 15 January 2019 the organisers will announce accepted proposals and the teams that will participate in a two-day event to be held on the IET’s Savoy Place premises in February.

The initial workshop is open to all but places are limited. You can register your interest here.

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